36 years after ousting dictator Marcos, Filipinos elect son as president

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The failed
The failed "pink revolution" ... a massive rally for Vice-President Leni Robredo in Manila at the weekend, but the late dictator's son Bongbong Marcos Jr has still apparently won the presidency decisively in yesterday's election according to unofficial results. Image: APR Screenshot/AJ

By Lian Buan in Manila

With 94.23 percent of precincts already accounted for, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, the only son and namesake of the late Philippine dictator, is the presumptive winner of the 2022 presidential elections in the Philippines.

It is a historic win nearly four decades after Filipinos booted his family out of power, ending a well-oiled campaign that sought to bury the past, rally for unity, and evade scrutiny.

As of 4:41 am today, partial and unofficial results from the Commission on Elections’ transparency server showed Marcos Jr. with 30,015,540 votes so far, representing 58.86 percent of total votes reported for all presidential candidates.

The 64-year-old Marcos Jr is set to become the 17th president of the Philippines, as he has received more than double the votes of his closest opponent, Vice-President Leni Robredo, who has garnered 14,309,524 votes or 28.06 percent as of the latest update.

He will succeed the strongman Rodrigo Duterte, winning without his outright support. The President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, was Marcos Jr’s running mate, getting 30,310,743 votes or 61.08 percent.

It’s the first presidential elections since the rebirth of democracy in 1986 where the outgoing president did not endorse a candidate.

‘Spoiled child’
“He is a spoiled child…. He’s a weak leader at may bagahe siya (and he has baggage),” the outgoing president Duterte had said of Marcos.

Marcos will lead the Philippines for the next six years, and will have to steer the country into economic recovery after a global pandemic. He is now the country’s chief diplomat, who flip-flopped on standing with Ukraine amid a Russian invasion that threatens security in the whole of Europe.

“This is bad for the country. There would be no good governance as we know it. Cronyism and dynasty will thrive,” said jailed opposition leader Leila De Lima.

Marcos has promised to continue Duterte’s warm ties to superpower China, and will keep at bay the International Criminal Court investigating the President and his men for alleged crimes against humanity for the thousands of killings during the drug war.

As president, Marcos will have power over executive agencies involved in recovering his family’s ill-gotten wealth, such as the Presidential Commission on Good Government and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG). The PCGG was still trying to recover P125 billion (NZ$3.7 billion) more in stolen wealth.

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr … commanding lead in the Philippine presidential elections. Image: Rappler

Marcos also has a standing contempt order in the United States — among other cases that he and his mother Imelda are facing. The business community fears that investors will steer clear of the Philippines under a Marcos presidency.

“Well, we’ll just have to prove them wrong if we get the opportunity and we will,” said Marcos in an interview with One PH on March 21.

Lian Buan is a Rappler reporter. Republished with permission.

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